Top 5 stories on summitdaily.com week of June 17 | SummitDaily.com

Top 5 stories on summitdaily.com week of June 17

Editor's note: Stories in this list received the most page views on SummitDaily.com for the past week.

1. Summit County real estate feeling impact of 'wealth effect,' broker says

Summit County real estate has been hot all year, with properties priced higher and snatched up quickly. For the month of May, the statistics show volume of real estate sales was up at the same time the number of transactions remained relatively flat. The county saw 29 real estate transactions over $1 million in May, and another 16 properties went for $900,000 or more. But the lower priced properties are the ones going first. According to longtime broker Dennis Clauer, the most active part of the market, by far, are the homes priced in the $400,000 to $500,000 range. All of this comes as a product of a strong national economy, he says, a telltale sign of what he calls, "the wealth effect," or when the national economy is strong, consumer confidence is riding high and the stock markets are hovering at or near historic levels. People looking to cash in on the financial markets want to invest in real estate — often gravitating toward desirable properties in resort destinations like Summit County.

"The wealth effect is really shown in our market, but it's evident everywhere in the country when it comes to resorts," Clauer said.

2. Buffalo Mountain Fire investigation is underway; officials urge hikers to stay out of the area

Although a little bit of rain from Hurricane Bud helped douse the Buffalo Mountain Fire, officials warned that warm and dry weather on the horizon can still have the potential for more fire danger, and on Wednesday, fire danger was upgraded to high. The threat to homes in Wildernest from the Buffalo Mountain Fire is gone, but officials are still concerned with the number of trespassers entering the burn area. On June 18, District Ranger Bill Jackson warned the area was still dangerous with fire-weakened trees, stump holes and hot spots.

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The investigation into the origin of the fire also began last week, and officials believe it to most likely be human caused. Investigators will try to identify the burn pattern by finding the point of origin, and searching for forensic and physical evidence like trash or accelerants. But the process can be difficult, especially with larger fires.

3. Interstate 70 traffic snarls that greeted mountain motorists on Monday could continue for months

Motorists heading westbound on I-70 were met with a nasty surprise on June 18 as a lane closure near Copper Mountain stalled traffic for hours. The closure was part of a long-term, $6.7 million repair and repaving plan launched by the Colorado Department of Transportation in May, a project that likely won't be completed until October. The project is meant to improve the smoothness of a 7.5-mile stretch of interstate that runs through Summit County from mile marker 190 through mile marker 197.5, from Vail Pass through Officers Gulch. Upgraded concrete barriers and guardrails will be installed to improve motorist safety, while milling and repaving will help improve conditions marred by tire chains, deicing salts and winter driving conditions.

Widespread traffic impacts stemming from the repairs will be noticeable this summer and fall. Speed limits will be reduced to 50 miles-per-hour throughout the work zone, and single-lane closures of up to 2 miles at a time for paving operations are expected.

4. Kona, here she comes: Nancy Peters, 60, goes from last to first in four years to win her age group at Ironman Boulder

In just four years, Summit County resident Nancy Peters has gone from last place at a local quarter-triathlon to first place at Ironman Boulder and an Ironman World Championship qualifier. The 60-year-old punched her ticket to the annual Ironman Triathlon World championships in Kona, Hawaii, this October after she beat out the competition in her age group in the 140.6-mile swim, bike and run triathlon. And she won by a landslide — one hour and 17 minutes faster than the nearest competitor. Peters mow has her eyes set on breaking the 13-hour mark and contending amid the global field at Kona.

"For me," Peters said, "just finishing isn't as satisfying as actually competing at this stage in my life. I don't want to race more, I want to win more."

5. Jury rules for Vail Resorts in Taft Conlin skier death case

After seven days of testimony and argument, the jury in the Taft Conlin skier death case returned with the verdict in favor of Vail Resorts, agreeing that the company had closed the upper Prima Cornice run on Vail Mountain's front side before an in-bounds avalanche killed the 13-year-old on Jan. 22, 2012. Taft's parents, Dr. Louise Ingalls and Dr. Stephen Conlin, had sued the ski company for negligence, saying the company did not close the run properly and violated Colorado's Skier Safety Act.

The trial took almost six years to come to fruition, and the legal process may not be over yet. Jim Heckbert, with Burg Simpson and attorney for Taft's parents, said an appeal is possible. His clients will have the final say.

Vail Valley attorney Joe Bloch said Ingalls and Conlin may have grounds for an appeal, but Colorado's Skier Safety Act is written in such a way that it's difficult to find a way to sue a ski company.

"Vail Resorts is almost invincible right now," Bloch said.

Editor’s note: Social Calls is compiled from comments on stories posted to the Summit Daily’s Facebook page

“So, you can only get 2% appreciation while eating a 4.8% mortgage. Interest rates are only getting worse. They would be better off paying full price in the long run. You will eat 128K of interest over a 30 year mortgage. I am not sure of the yearly appreciation, but I am guessing it is 3-5 times 2%. Deed restricted units are a trap and hardly a good solution for the housing problems. Am I missing something?” — Russell Epstein on “Frisco buying condos at market value, renovating them and selling them at a reduced cost for workers”

“Nice job Frisco. Way to think out of the box and not just keep building stuff” — Matt Banas on “Frisco buying condos at market value, renovating them and selling them at a reduced cost for workers”

“And the system works. The ballots were caught and nullified. All the ballots have unique ID numbers that some computer scans. I think the system is fine, much better than the alternative of forcing voters to register as one of two parties. It should encourage primary candidates to go after all voters rather than just the base of GOP or Democrats.” — Andrew Muldowney on “Some Colorado primary ballots turned in for both parties, nullifying votes”

“Home prices are up 200-300%. Hurry let me go buy a bunch as investments….that’s not how this works genius. Buy low sell high. You’d have to be pretty silly to think buying right now is a good investment.” — Jacob Deneault on “Summit County real estate feeling impact of ‘wealth effect,’broker says”

“Thank you Hickenlooper for standing up for true American values! This is a disgrace and I’m happy that our state is standing against this.” — Jessa Kumar on “Hickenlooper signs executive order barring Colorado resources from being used to separate migrant families”

“Here’s a thought. Don’t break the law. Don’t claim a child that is NOT yours and don’t cross at illegal crossing points. That’s simple.” — Staci Hollingsworth Roberson on “Hickenlooper signs executive order barring Colorado resources from being used to separate migrant families”